The Real Bread Campaign, which aims to promote additive-free breads, claimed in April that elements of Allinson’s bread advertising were misleading, including pictures of dough being kneaded by hand, the use of the word ‘wholemeal’ when its flour is also mixed with soy flour, and the phrase ‘still has no artificial preservatives.’ The complaint alleged that use of the word ‘still’ suggested that the bread had never contained artificial additives, although the company had previously included calcium propionate.
However, the ASA rejected the complaint, saying that given the other Victorian-era imagery in the advertisement, consumers would understand that the images of dough being kneaded by hand referred to the history of the company. In addition, the wheat and malted barley flour used in Allinson’s formulation were 100% wholemeal, and soy flour is not considered flour under the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998, therefore the wholemeal complaint was not upheld.
As for the use of the word ‘still’, the ASA considered that consumers would understand that the ad was comparing the current recipe with the original.
The Real Bread Campaign said it was shocked by the ASA’s conclusion.
Campaign coordinator Chris Young said in a statement: “The ASA claims that it “is here to make sure all advertisements are legal, decent, honest and truthful.” In what way is using photographs of hand-made bread to advertise an industrial product untouched by human hand during its manufacture in any way honest or truthful?”
Meanwhile, Allinson welcomed the decision.
An Allinson spokesperson said: "This particular campaign was designed to make consumers aware of the forgotten story of Thomas Allinson and, as with all our campaigns, we took our responsibility to ensure we were honest with consumers and complied with the ASA CAP Code very seriously."